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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona XC off to fast start

The Arizona Wildcats cross-country teams got off to an impressive start this weekend with the women’s team finishing in first place and the men’s team finishing in second place in a joint meet in Flagstaff that included Arizona State University, Central Arizona College, Northern Arizona University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Pima Community College, University of West Florida, Glendale Community College, Grand Canyon University and Western New Mexico University.

Head coach James Li went into the meet looking at it as if it were a scrimmage and did not run the majority of his top runners.

“”I was pretty happy with the weekend,”” Li said. “”We are looking pretty good, and I am pretty happy with the younger kids.””

Freshman women’s runner Elvin Kibet stole the weekend for the Wildcats as she took first place in the run.

“”She definitely will be one of our leading runners on our team,”” Li said. “”We were giving some people the experience to race, and then others we wanted to evaluate and see how they perform.””

“”It was kind of her opening race, first time in an Arizona jersey,”” said assistant coach Erin Dawson. “”She very easily won the race.””

On the men’s team Patrick Zacharias led the way. Zacharias took home the University section title in the 8,000-meter race with a time of 26:21.0 and finished second overall to Central Arizona’s Henry Lelei, who won the event in 26:14.1.

“”I ran pretty conservative because it’s a longer distance than I am used to,”” Zacharias said. “”That’s what Coach Li told me to do.

“”Going into it I held back a lot in the first half of the race then really went for it in the second half. It ended up working out all right.””

This was Zacharias’ first meet of that distance after spending the majority of his high school career running 5,000-meter races.

“”(I had) the regular amount of nervousness before a race, but you know my training has been going well,”” Zacharias said. “”I was pretty confident in my training and that I would be all right, so I wasn’t too nervous going into it.””

Dawson raved about Zacharias and the work that he has put in this season after the meet. Prior to the meet Dawson predicted that Zacharias would have a great season and that he would be one of the top runners for the Wildcats.

“”That kid had a great race, too,”” Dawson said. “”As a freshman, that was his first (8,000 meter) ever. He really impressed all of us.””

The next meet for the Wildcats will be Sept. 17 at 4:30 p.m. at home. The meet against ASU will be the first home meet of the season.

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